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GOP AGs warn Maine to kill 'totalitarian' bill making sanctuary state for sex-change surgeries, or be sued

16 GOP attorneys general are sending a warning shot to Maine for a proposed bill that would establish the state as a sanctuary for sex-change surgeries for minors.

FIRST ON FOX – A group of Republican attorneys general are sending a warning shot to the state of Maine for a bill under consideration that would effectively establish Maine as a sanctuary state for procedures like sex-change surgeries for minors – a move the AGs say is "totalitarian."

The bill, known as LD 227, would prohibit "interference" with abortion or sex change procedures, legally protect medical workers from facing lawsuits, and could potentially permit concealment of medical records from plaintiffs seeking legal action against a provider. In other words, a parent whose child went to Maine for a sex-change surgery would have no legal recourse, even though they live in a state where such operations are illegal.

A group of 16 attorneys general, led by Tennessee’s Jonathan Skrmetti, sent a letter Monday to Gov. Janet Mills, Attorney General Aaron Frey, and state legislature leadership calling the bill a "novel effort at state-sanctioned culture war litigation tourism."

While it’s "extremely unusual" for states to interject themselves into another state’s lawmaking, the AGs said LD 227’s "unique constitutional transgressions" merit their comment. 

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"If Maine pursues LD 227’s constitutionally defective approach, we will vigorously avail ourselves of every recourse our Constitution provides," the AGs write.

Skrmetti and the others say that LD 227 would undermine the "lawful policy choices" of their respective states’ citizens "by imposing on the rest of the country Maine’s views on hotly debated issues such as gender transition surgeries for children." 

The AGs said the bill’s "far-reaching provisions are unprecedented."

LD 227 would apparently form a liability shield to anyone aiding or offering unlawful services to out-of-state citizens. It would also create a private right of action for damages against law enforcement, prosecutors, and other officials in states that are enforcing their respective state laws, even laws whose constitutionality has been confirmed by federal appellate courts. 

"On top of that," the AGs write, "LD227 purports to block valid orders and judgments from our state courts enforcing laws upheld by federal appellate courts."

The AGs say the bill as currently drafted violates the U.S. Constitution and flouts the federalist structure that allows each state to engage in self-government responsive to the will of its citizens. 

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The states’ top prosecutors say the Constitution’s full faith and credit clause, and federal statutes implementing it, mean that "no state cause of action should ever accrue from a different State lawfully enforcing its own permissible laws or executing valid judgments."

The AGs write further that the bill’s "ill-considered attempt to influence and intimidate officials in other States could also trigger a rapid tit-for-tat escalation that tears apart our Republic."

"If one State does not like another State’s regulatory regime with respect to cars, or food, or alcohol distribution, or whatever else, it could create a tenuous jurisdictional hook to allow the same sort of extraterritorial bullying attempted by LD 227. State officials would be dragged into legal battles in far-flung jurisdictions, thwarting their ability to focus on protecting their own citizens consistent with their own duly-enacted laws," they wrote. 

There are currently at least 23 states that restrict or ban transgender surgical procedures for minors. Proponents of the bill in Maine, including Planned Parenthood, argue it will provide much needed protection for medical providers in the state.

"This bill is fundamentally about access to health care," Lisa Margulies, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, said during a hearing to consider the bill last week. "And resisting the devastating impacts of health care restrictions enacted by other states, and those are enacted not for medical reasons, but for political reasons."

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Patience Crozier, a director for the LGBTQ+ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) organization, suggested restrictive laws in other states against the procedures are "really horrible attacks on transgender people."

"I think, in Maine, where reproductive and transgender health care is legal, this bill is really important to state the values of Maine and make sure that we're protecting our providers from those attacks from other states," Crozier said.

Still several Republicans in the legislature remain concerned about the 21-page bill. The measure is expected to hit more hurdles before potentially reaching a floor vote in the coming weeks. 

"Maine has every right to decide what Maine’s laws are and how those laws should be enforced. But that same right applies to every State. One State cannot control another. The totalitarian impulse to stifle dissent and oppress dissenters has no place in our shared America," the AGs stated in their letter. 

Officials from the state of Maine did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment. 

Fox News Digital's Jamie Joseph contributed to this report. 

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